Perfect start to IJF World Judo Tour in Abu Dhabi

Perfect start to IJF World Judo Tour in Abu Dhabi

At -48kg, Italian double world bronze medallist, 22-year-old Assunta Scutto reached the final after a strong performance on the opening day of competition.

On the other side of the draw, 24-year-old Mongolian judo practitioner, Baasankhuu Bavuudorj also produced fine judo to reach the gold medal match.

The final was a tense encounter, but Bavuudorj struck as time was running out, capitalising on a failed attack to counter and take a first world title.

The Mayor of Olbia, Settimo Nizzi, awarded the medals.

Bavuudorj thanked her coaches and Mongolians for their support.

''I’m happy right now. I'm grateful that my first ever world medal at the World Championships is gold,'' she said.

At -60kg, 26-year-old Yung Wei Yang was the top seed, and made his way to the final looking confident.

The 20-year-old Georgian, Giorgi Sardalashvili was his opponent following some spectacular ippon judo throughout the day.

In the final, an attack from Yang was expertly countered by the Georgian, and the waza-ari score was enough for Sardalashvili to become his nation's youngest ever world champion.

He was awarded his medal by Tania Missoni, Board Member of Missoni Ltd.

Sardalashvili said he had dreamed of winning since he was a child.

''I don’t know what happened now, but I am a world champion,'' he said.

At -52kg, Diyora Keldiyorova from Uzbekistan was the favourite for gold, and looked increasingly impressive as the day went on.

But in the final, the 25-year-old faced Italian veteran, Odette Giuffrida, who was also on fire.

Another nervy encounter was decided by 29-year-old Giuffrida's trademark footwork, driving Keldiyorova over for the winning score.

Giuffrida erupted with emotion as she finally claimed a first world title.

She was awarded her medal by David Lappartient, IOC Member and President of the Union Cycliste Internationale.

Giuffrida credited Abu Dhabi for her win.

''Abu Dhabi is magic for me. When I arrived here, I was like maybe the magic still hasn't vanished. I'm going to do everything to win and today it worked again. Abu Dhabi works for me,'' she said.

The 2024 World Judo Championships continues through until 24 May as part of the IJF World Tour and during the 2024 Summer Olympics qualification period, concluding with a mixed team event on the final day.